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Dr. Sheetal Sekhri
Sustainability Science Program
Kennedy School of Government
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Office: 319 Rubenstein Building
Tel: (1) 617-496-0897
Group affiliation: Giorgio Ruffolo Research Fellow in Sustainability Science
Spring term only
Sheetal Sekhri is Giorgio Ruffolo Research Fellow in the Sustainability Science Program and an assistant professor at the Department of Economics at the University of Virginia. Her research interests focus on the consequences of groundwater scarcity in developing countries and market and non-market mechanisms that can promote groundwater conservation. Sheetal’s work explores what institutions and incentives can promote the adoption of water saving technologies and practices in agriculture. She received funding from the International Growth Centre, based at the London School of Economics and Political Science, to design this study. Sheetal is contributing to collaborative work with the Initiative on Public-Private Partnerships to Promote Sustainable Development in India led by Professor Rohini Pande. She is a fellow of the International Growth Centre’s India Country Team. She received her PhD in Development Economics from Brown University (2008). Her previous work in India includes studies that establish a causal link between poverty, conflict, and groundwater scarcity and examine the role of power subsidies and political incentives in accelerating groundwater depletion. She has studied the link between public provision of groundwater and water-tables. In a related project, she will also use observational data to explore the affects of agricultural trade promotion on ground water. She is also collaborating with a non-profit organization in Rajasthan, India to examine how water scarcity influences the lives of rural women and girls from an economic and a social perspective. She frequently volunteers to teach high school students about water sustainability both in US and India. Her faculty host is Rohini Pande.
Promoting the adoption of water-saving technologies in agriculture: Role of information and incentives
Groundwater depletion has become an increasingly important policy concern in many countries around the world and especially in India, which is the largest user of groundwater for irrigation. There are more than 20 million private tube-wells in the country. Pervasive usage of individual wells makes formal monitoring and enforcement extremely difficult, and hence impedes conventional policy design to check over-extraction. Promoting the use of water saving technologies and agricultural practices may be an alternative viable lever to protect the resource. This research will examine the barriers to adoption of publicly subsidized water saving technologies in Punjab, India and investigate how financial incentives and information campaigns ought to be structured to maximize the adoption of such technologies.